New Democrat (Monrovia)

28 February 2013

Liberia: Legislature Must Disallow Grace Kpaan - Mary Broh Saga to Distract Focus

editorial

After all is said and done, members of the National Legislative, elected by the people as the first branch of our three-legged branch government, have a focus to pursue instead of further wasting precious time and energy on two local government officials they have dismissed as "fugitive" and "rebel" and no longer consider them "governmental materials" due to their official deportment.

We appreciate the fury at the Capitol over unsatisfactory interactions between the Lower House and Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Tee Kpaan whom, the plenary of the House of Representatives ordered jailed last Thursday for 72 hours for allegedly exhibiting disrespect to them.

But Mrs. Grace Kpaan never smelled jail as media reports said Acting City Major of Monrovia, Ms. Mary Broh, forcibly prevented her incarceration and smuggle her to an unknown location.

Being amphibious to both the Legislature and Executive, Vice President Joseph N. Bokai immediately informed the Chief Executive, who despite being in attendance of a presidential inauguration in Freetown, promptly suspended Superintendent Grace Kpaan and Acting Monrovia City Mayor Mary Broh indefinitely.

Both local government officials went underground after the House declared them fugitive and rebel, instructed the sergeant-at-arms to arrest and jail them for 30 days at South Beach prison and asked the President to dismiss the duo for alleged disrespect to members of the first branch of government.

But the Judiciary, through the Supreme Court, which is the interpreter of the law and final arbiter of matters relating to jurisprudence in the country, has placed an injunction on the 30-day imprisonment order for these female officials pending a conference with the Speaker.

Nevertheless these developments, the Plenary still feels unsatisfied and has given President Sirleaf a 96-hour ultimatum ending Friday (March 1) to dismiss Grace Kpaan and Mary Broh "in an effort to promote coordination and smooth governance in the Liberian society."

"Anything to the contrary, the House will not accept her legislative agenda," Speaker Tyler instructed the Chief Clerk in a communication to the President.

Though cognizant of how members of the first branch of government feel angered over the official deportment of local government officials Grace Kpaan and Mary Broh, we wonder whether public perception of an ultimatum for their dismissal would not mean forcing the hands of the Executive, which already suspended them as coming events cast their shadows. Couldn't patience prevail and the President be waited upon for her next action after these suspended officials who have ceased governmental functions undergone their desired due process at the Supreme Court?

The treatment given the saga of these suspended officials, dominant on the airwaves of local radio talk shows and amusement centers in Monrovia can only deem them indispensable in their functions, when, in fact, no one carries that quality.

Notably, there should be prudence to avoid the scenario that unduly delayed the passage of the current fiscal budget, now that the Legislature and Executive recently smoked a peace pipe following an hiatus in cordial working relations caused by trading of war of words.

One cardinal fact to cherish is: when the Legislature hammers a stance for attention and action of the Executive, patience for a waiting period is needed to allow the governed--people, who elected them to be the barometer of their relations with the other branches of government, and vice versa.

Honourable lawmakers, it is our urge for you to continue focusing on doing what you were elected to do and avoid the temptation of allowing the Grace Kpaan-Mary Broh saga to detract your attention. Regardless of the punishment they might undergo, posterity will remember your service and why you ordered punishment for them.

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